Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy breaks ground on new playground

An Ocean of Fun is Coming to Burnside Park this Summer

Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy breaks ground on new playground, announces renovations and programming for Imagination Center

Providence, RI – The Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy (DPPC), the public-private partnership responsible for stewardship and programming in Greater Kennedy Plaza, Thursday broke ground on Brandon’s Beach at Burnside Park, a new destination playground for children of all abilities located in the heart of historic Downtown Providence. Accompanied by Governor Gina Raimondo, City of Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, Hasbro Chairman and CEO Brian Goldner and his wife Barbara, and Karen Davis, President of the Hasbro Children’s Fund, the DPPC also announced a project to upgrade the Imagination Center at Burnside Park with added amenities and a slate of summer programming.

The groundbreaking on Brandon’s Beach marks a significant new investment in Burnside Park, and serves to enhance Greater Kennedy Plaza’s status as a welcoming city center and family destination. The playground will be built in memory of Brandon Goldner, and is made possible by the generosity of his family and friends. The completed playground will be sensory rich, with musical equipment, swings, and spinners. It will be appropriate for toddlers and young children of all abilities. 

“Some of our greatest memories were with our son and family at a park that was located on a beach,” said the Goldners. “We felt it would honor Brandon to recreate that joy for other children and families here in the center of Providence.”

The nautical theme, designed by Rhode Island native Tiffany Rodrigues for internationally renowned Kompan Play Equipment, was inspired by the Ocean State, as well as the former historical Port of Providence, where large ships would dock in the Providence River. The featured custom play piece is meant to evoke the look of a marina, using nautically inspired poles and ropes. Construction is expected to be complete by late summer.

The playground will mesh with the park’s historic setting, with wrought iron fencing, classic style benches, complementary planting and landscaping, and lighting for safety. The intent is to create a unified area with seating which parents and children can enjoy together.

The DPPC also used the occasion to announce enhancements to the Imagination Center, which features new amenities made possible by a generous grant from the Hasbro Children’s Fund. The Imagination Center was installed in Burnside Park in 2013 as part of a Heart of the Community Grant from Southwest Airlines. The project seeks to create a beautiful and welcoming home within the park for visitors to engage in an array of activities, including reading, creating, relaxing, and playing. It will work in concert with the new playground to establish Burnside Park as a compelling draw for families. 

“The Hasbro Children’s Fund is delighted to continue supporting the Imagination Center and provide funding for additional enhancements,” said Karen Davis, President of the Hasbro Children’s Fund and Senior Vice President of Global Philanthropy and Social Impact, Hasbro, Inc. “The expanded programming and enhanced space will make this a true destination for families in downtown Providence, which aligns with our purpose of making the world a better place for children and their families.”

“These are major investments that enhance Greater Kennedy Plaza as a thriving, vital city center and destination for Providence residents and visitors,” said DPPC Executive Director Cliff Wood. “Quality public spaces create economic and cultural opportunities, and these improvements in Burnside Park further our goal of creating a world-class park system in Providence’s urban core. We are grateful to the family and friends of Brandon Goldner and the Hasbro Children’s Fund for their generosity and support. We are also thankful for the partnership of Mayor Elorza and the City of Providence to ensure that Greater Kennedy Plaza is a safe and welcoming place for all.”

“This new destination playground is an important contribution to Burnside Park and enhances the feeling of community in our historic Downtown,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “It’s not only an investment in our vibrant parks, it’s an investment in Providence’s families, providing more opportunities for outdoor recreation and creative play for all children in our city.”

(release and photos from Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy) 

Rendering of the design by Kompan Play Equipment 

Pictured L-R: Wendy Nilsson, Providence Parks Superintendent; Cliff Wood,
Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy Executive Director; Mayor Jorge Elorza;
Brian Goldner, Hasbro Chairman and CEO, and his wife Barbara; Governor Gina Raimondo;
Tiffany Rodrigues, Kompan Play Equipment designer; Karen Davis, Hasbro Children's Fund President